From simply wanting to form a virtual group to share her experiences of creating a home into founding a community with over two million members, Frances Lim Cabatuando of Home Buddies proves that the possibilities become endless when people of the same interests come together.
A glimpse of Frances’ home /Photo from Nobi.Home
In September 2020, at the brink of the pandemic, Frances noticed that there had been a growing number of people who share the same interest with her when it comes to home improvements. Thanks to Nobi Home, an Instagram account dedicated to Frances’ condo renovations, Home Buddies was born.
A section of Frances’ home where she usually relaxes by reading a book /Photo from Nobi.Home
It all started when Frances wanted to play the “Minimalist game,” where players have to get rid of things they don’t use anymore, and the person who declutters the most in 30 days wins. Frances couldn’t play the game alone, so she asked her followers at Nobi Home if anyone was willing to join. To her surprise, the number of people interested kept adding up, and that was when Home Buddies came in—a group initially made for a game that turned out to be one of Facebook’s fastest-growing groups in the Philippines today.
Get to know Frances
Frances Lim Cabatuando /Photo from @Nobi.Home
Frances, one of the top-ranking young creatives of the Philippines, is a full-time associate creative director at BBDO Guerrero. She graduated with flying colors at the De La Salle University in 2012 with a degree in BS Advertising Management.
Throughout her career in Advertising, Frances has been recognized in the Cannes Lions, Spikes, AdStars, and other local and international awards show. She was also ranked top one in the YouTube Leaderboards Philippines for Coca-Cola The Happiest Thank You campaign. As of late, Frances is on top of the designs and content creations for Nobi Home and managing Home Buddies together with her team.
The proposition of Home Buddies is simple. Once you become a member, you’re considered a kapitbahay (neighbor). That means you can call celebrities Slater Young, Megan Daez, and Thea Sy-Bautista your kapitbahays since they’re all part of the group too! As a kapitbahay, you have to adhere to Frances’ rules, who is the Mayora (Mayor) of the group. If you don’t, the tanods (peace & order frontliners) will call you out.
At Home Buddies, home enthusiasts come together to talk about anything under the sun—from home finds, tips, creations, questions, goals, inspirations—you can find almost everything home-related in this group.
Every Monday, Home Buddies hosts a #MondayMarket, the only day of the week when kapitbahays can buy and sell home-related items in the group. By doing this, Home Buddies get to maintain the orderliness and integrity of the group. Every 18th of the month, members are encouraged to participate at #FriendsgivingDay, in which members can give and share items to anyone in the group. Lastly, and probably the best part, Home Buddies updates the “Budolletin Board” every month, where exclusive promos and discounts from different brands are posted exclusively for members’ use.
Aside from these community events, Home Buddies also has simple rules to guide the members when posting, such as “be the kapitbahay you wish to have.”
“May we treat this group and community as our online home. I humbly ask for everyone to respect each other. No home is better than the other,” Mayora reminds the group members.
As a Home Buddies member and a silent observer, this writer does not doubt that the group will grow into an even bigger platform in the coming months, with more people bringing in ideas and more brands collaborating with the members. Home Buddies is like your 2021 version of Pinterest, but better because you can interact with people behind the posts in real-time.
So, hats off to you, Frances, for creating Home Buddies and showing the impact a virtual community can have!